African Development Bank’s Akinwumi Adesina heads to UK-Africa investment summit: Revitalizing economic ties top of agenda

African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina
African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina

Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, 16 January 2020 – New opportunities for bi-lateral trade and increasing UK investor appetite in Africa will be the main focus of the UK-Africa summit, convened by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, on January 20th.

African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina is expected in London for the milestone investment summit aimed at forging new partnerships under the theme: ‘Partners for prosperity.’ 

A busy agenda awaits President Adesina. Highlights of his UK trip includes a plenary panel discussion on ‘Sustainable Finance and Infrastructure – Unlocking the City of London and UK financial services for growth in Africa,’ alongside Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana. Discussions will focus on increasing access to investments in Africa and pursuing existing and untapped opportunities.

On January 21st, President Adesina will deliver a keynote at the Sustainable Infrastructure Forum, an associated event of the UK Africa Investment Summit, followed by another keynote address at the UK’s All-Party Parliament Group (APPG) Symposium.

The one-day event, co-organized by the Royal African Society and Oxford Brooks University, will see the participation of UK parliamentarians, academics, and policymakers. 

The future trade relationship between the UK and Africa and the African Continental Free Trade Area in the context of Brexit are expected to top discussions.

Speakers at the symposium include Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa; Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD and Ms. Paulina Elago, Executive Secretary of the Southern African Customs Union, SACU.

The Bank’s president will wrap up his engagements with a UK-African Development Bank strategic dialogue. The dialogue with the Department for International Development (DFID) will focus on the President’s vision for Africa and how the Bank can spur the continent’s economic transformation, especially in the areas of infrastructure and regional integration, private sector development and jobs, and women’s economic empowerment. Climate change, energy access, addressing fragility, promoting resilience, and good governance principles will also be discussed.

Africa and the UK are long-standing partners. Trade stood at over £33bn in 2018.  Close to 2,000 British businesses currently operate in Africa.

In 2016, Africa’s exports to the UK accounted for £17 billion, having grown marginally from $16.7 billion in 2015. Africa’s major exporters to the UK, in 2016, included South Africa, which takes the lion’s share with 58%, followed by Nigeria with 7%, Algeria, Morocco and Egypt 5% each.

Over the next decade, Africa is expected to play an increasingly significant global role. The continent’s population is projected to double to 2 billion people by 2050, representing a quarter of the world population.

The UK-Africa Summit is a unique opportunity to expand investment and trade opportunities.

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